An look at how Latino/a immigrant farmers are transitioning from farmworkers to farm owners.
Although the majority of farms in the United States have US-born owners who identify as white, a growing number of new farmers are immigrants. Many of them are from Mexico and originally came to the United States looking for work in agriculture.
In The New American Farmer, Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern explores the experiences of Latino/a immigrant farmers as they transition from farmworkers to farm owners, offering a new perspective on racial inequity and sustainable farming. She finds that many of these new farmers rely on farming practices from their home countries—including growing multiple crops simultaneously, using integrated pest management, maintaining small-scale production, and employing family labor.
Drawing on extensive interviews with farmers and organizers, Minkoff-Zern describes the social, economic, and political barriers immigrant farmers must overcome, from navigating USDA bureaucracy to exclusion from opportunities based on race. Immigrant farmers, with their knowledge and experience of alternative farming practices, are actively and substantially contributing to the movement for a more sustainable food system—scholars and food activists should take notice.